Hormel joins Tyson Foods, JBS in removing drug banned by China from hog supply

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CHICAGO, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Spam-maker Hormel Foods Corp is eliminating a growth drug banned by China from its hog supply, the company said on Tuesday, joining rivals that are seeking to increase meat sales to Chinese buyers grappling with a pork shortage.

Hormel will not accept any hogs that have been fed or exposed to the drug ractopamine after April 1, the company said in a statement.

Tyson Foods Inc and JBS USA said last year they would remove the drug from their supply chains. The companies’ moves ramped up the competition to profit from increased demand in China, the world’s largest pork consumer, where an outbreak of the fatal pig disease African swine fever has decimated herds.

“We have been actively monitoring the changing global market dynamics for several years and believe this decision will further position us to meet growing international demand,” Hormel said.

Ractopamine is used in some countries to raise leaner pigs, but China does not allow its use or tolerate residues in imported meat. The European Union also bans ractopamine.

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